Police force resigns in North Carolina town, citing hostile work environment
KENLY, N.C. (WRAL) - A small North Carolina town lost its police chief of two decades as well as all its full-time police officers to resignation Wednesday.
The town of Kenly, home to about 2,000 residents, is left with just three part-time officers on its police force.
The officers who resigned were also joined by two town clerks who all accuse the new town manager of a hostile work environment.
The new town manager, Justine Jones, was hired last month.
Chief Josh Gibson was at the helm of the police force for two decades, and he is one of seven people who put in a resignation letter Wednesday. WRAL obtained that letter, as well as the ones from his officers and the two town clerks.
Gibson writes, “Due to a hostile work environment now present in the town of Kenly, I do not believe progress is possible.”
Utility clerk Christie Thomas writes, due to the current situations and stress, “I will not let myself be around that kind of atmosphere.”
WRAL asked Jones about the mass resignation, and she said she couldn’t talk about it as it’s a personnel matter.
WRAL also learned that Jones sued her previous employer in Richland County, South Carolina, for gender and racial discrimination after she was fired in 2015.
She alleged hostile treatment by county leaders and retaliation for reporting bad behavior. The lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed.
Kenly’s town council is scheduling an emergency meeting to address the staffing crisis.
Meanwhile, the Johnston County Sheriff said his deputies will try to help pick up the slack for the missing police officers.
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